Iraqi town fearful as battle against Daesh rages next door

Iraqi troops and Shiite militiamen outside Qaim keep watch over a giant earth barricade topped with barbed wire. (AP)
Updated 21 November 2018
0

Iraqi town fearful as battle against Daesh rages next door

  • The battle on the doorstep means life in Qaim is still on hold, with residents waiting for their town to be rebuilt
  • On the other side of Qaim, the fight is still raging to capture one of the militants’ last enclaves

QAIM, Iraq: More than a year after the Iraqi town of Qaim was freed from the Daesh group, booms from airstrikes still echo and columns of smoke rise beyond the berms and concrete walls marking the border with Syria. There, on the other side, the fight is raging to capture one of the militants’ last enclaves.
Iraqi troops and Shiite militiamen outside Qaim keep watch over a giant earth barricade topped with barbed wire that runs along the long desert border. Iraqi artillery and US-led coalition warplanes bombard Daesh positions inside Syria, while Iraqi militiamen along with allied Iranian troops cross the border to back Syrian troops.
The battle on the doorstep means life in Qaim is still on hold, with residents waiting for their town to be rebuilt.


UN pushes for truce and aid at Yemen talks

Updated 12 December 2018
0

UN pushes for truce and aid at Yemen talks

  • Askar Zaeel, a member of the government delegation, said his camp would hold firm to UN Security Council Resolution 2216
  • Multiple draft proposals have been submitted to the two delegations over the past week

RIMBO, Sweden: With 24 hours left before the scheduled close of UN-brokered talks on Yemen, mediators pushed Wednesday for a truce between warring parties as a crucial step to allow aid deliveries.
Mediators are seeking a de-escalation of violence in two flashpoint cities: Houthi-held Hodeidah, a port city vital to the supply of humanitarian aid, and Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, scene of some of the war’s most intense fighting.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was due in Rimbo late Wednesday for Thursday’s closing round of consultations.
Both government and militia representatives traded accusations of unwillingness to negotiate, particularly on militia-held Hodeida, the main route for 90 percent of food imports and nearly 80 percent of aid deliveries.
Multiple draft proposals have been submitted to the two delegations over the past week. None have found consensus as yet.
“I think there is some progress, even if it’s with much difficulty. It’s slow progress,” Houthi representative Abdelmalik Al-Ajri told AFP. “We are faced with the intransigence of the other side.
“Things should become clearer today.”
Askar Zaeel, a member of the government delegation, said his camp would hold firm to UN Security Council Resolution 2216 — which calls for the Houthis to withdraw from all areas seized in a 2014 takeover, including Hodeidah.
Iran supports the militia politically but denies supplying them with arms.